Road Trip!

We decided to explore some of Baja’s interior and make the drive up the peninsula to Loreto. We will be visiting Loreto and nearby Puerto Escondido during the summer on Slow Dancer, but for now, we are visiting via a rented VW Vento.
We began our 356 km (221 miles) trip on Wednesday, April 11.  We passed two armed military Policia Federal and Marinas (Federal police and Marines) checkpoints on our way out of LaPaz. These guys were all business, but waved us on…whew!  Guess we don’t look like a threat in our VW!  

This trip was so diverse!  We drove through miles and miles of cactus and desert.  Every once in a while we would pass through a small town with 2 or 3 buildings in the middle of nowhere.  There were elaborate memorials every mile or two, reminding us of the many people that had not made it off this winding highway.  After being passed by many, many vehicles on this road….on hills and on curves…..we understood why so many memorials!  Wow….these drivers are crazy!  We’re sure that they thought…..”Gringo turistas don’t know how to drive our roads”.  Just when we were getting used to the craziness of the drivers, out steps a cow!  Yikes!  

After the desert came farmland and orange groves (where do they get the water?!). We came to the beautiful Sierra de la Giganta mountain range.  Up, up through the pass between two of these rock giants.  Then as we started down, the Sea came into view…what a stark difference and so beautiful! We passed several bays as well as a couple of resorts with green golf courses.  

Loreto is a beautiful little town.  Our hotel was right on the town square in the historical district of Loreto. It is a lovely hacienda-style boutique hotel that reflects old Mexico.  Much better than the resort hotels because of the effort put into the restoration and authentication of this beautiful building.  The seven person staff working at this amazing place welcomed us with open arms.  We fall more in love with the Mexican people each day!

 Around the square was a mission, a museum building, several shops and outdoor restaurants, as well as a school.  This square seems to be the gathering place for so many of the people of Loreto.  There is always something going on, children playing and many forms of music.  We enjoyed several of the restaurants and the authentic Mexican and seafood dishes.  We were entertained by street musicians as well as the guy playing the marimba that doubles as a balloon animal maker!  

We walked the Malecon to look at the bay and took a drive to Puerto Escondido to check out the anchorage and marina.  Everywhere we went we met amazing people, including some “Expats”, US citizens that have chosen to relocate to this beautiful country.  Just being around the Mexican people brings out the friendliness in everyone.  

On our last day, we watched a celebration in the square, complete with dancing, singing, cake and many local vendors.  We purchased some homemade goat cheese and mango ice cream and were on our way back to La Paz.

As we headed up into the mountains, we were passed by a guy in a small truck driving erratically. Glad that he wasn’t behind us anymore we continued on.  Coming around a corner….there was his truck, stopped in the middle of the road.   What’s wrong?  We stopped behind him and noticed that there was a wet spot by the driver’s door and he was adjusting his belt…..seriously?  Convinced that he must have been enjoying some of the local Tequila, we passed him and continued on.   Shortly after, here he came again, speeding up to get around us and passing on a blind hill!  Glad that he was around us again, we headed up the steep hill.  At the top of the hill, there he was again, swerving into the other lane….yikes.  He then slowed almost to a stop and crossed over to the shoulder of our lane. As he slowed to stop, we watched his left rear wheel and tire fall off. He was done moving and as we went past Ken’s comment was “That guy has a serious lug nut issue”. Didn’t stay to see how he solved his problem, but his first move should have been to sober up. Only in Mexico? We made it safely back to La Paz, grateful for this amazing adventure that we continue to enjoy.

Hundreds of Memorials along the highway

Hotel Lobby

View from outside our room

First Mission in Baja California
Inside the Mission

Our friends at Posada de las Flores

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